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TIPOFF ARNOLD'S MOTORCYCLE CRASH LEAVES HIM, OTHERS IN STITCHES.

Byline: RICK ORLOV

He might now be California's most famous rule-breaker, but Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger showed last week he can take a punch with the best of 'em.

With 15 stitches closing a cut upper lip he suffered in a collision on his motorcycle - for which, it turns out, he doesn't have a California license - the governor tried to joke about it with Sacramento reporters during a briefing on his budget proposal.

``If I sound a little funny, it's because I have stitched-up lips here,'' Schwarzenegger said. ``It all happened because of a motorcycle accident. A car pulled out in front of me - and I just couldn't make a decision which way to go.

``I knew if I turned left that the Republicans will get mad and I knew if I turned right, my wife will get mad. So I just crashed right into the car. It was the safer thing to do.''

Schwarzenegger did not offer any excuses for his failure to get a license to operate a motorcycle.

The governor said he had such a license in Austria, which he used when he lived in Germany.

``When I came over here in the beginning, I used that,'' Schwarzenegger said. ``And, I just never applied for it. I never thought about it.''

Since the accident, his staff has recommended he stay off motorcycles until he gets the license.

Just in case you don't get enough of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa - seeing him out there filling potholes, planting trees, recycling trees or cutting ribbons - he has begun his own electronic way to let you know what he is doing.

The mayor last week debuted an electronic newsletter, called Our LA, featuring information on what he's done since taking office, discussing various issues and inviting residents to take part.

``We are trying for this to be more engaging that most newsletters,'' an aide to Villaraigosa said.

In the newsletter, Villaraigosa gives his response to newspaper editorials - the first deals with growth - as well as surveys of what people believe the mayor's top priorities should be.

It also has a section in which residents are asked to send in pictures of places or events that capture ``the spirit'' of Los Angeles. The rest of the newsletter offers various tips or notices of upcoming events.

The mailing went out initially to city employees and those on the mayor's office mailing list. Other can apply to get in by going to the mayor's Web site at www.lacity.org/mayor and subscribing to Our LA.

Officials with the city Ethics Commission said there are no restrictions on such communications.

There is an undercurrent of concern developing among neighborhood council leaders as plans get under way to formally create a citywide neighborhood congress.

Twenty-six of the city's 84 neighborhood councils have said they plan to participate in the proposed neighborhood congress - scheduled for Feb. 4 and designed to create one voice for the groups on major issues.

What is concerning some is the prospect of neighborhood councils turning against one another in a battle over power and jurisdiction.

The concern is that what one neighborhood council sees as a local issue, another views as a citywide issue.

One example frequently cited is Sunshine Canyon Landfill, where all the city's residential trash is hauled. The environmental impacts are felt in Granada Hills, where the dump is located, while the cost of sending it elsewhere would be borne citywide.

Ken Draper, editor of City Watch, the newsletter of the neighborhood councils, said the differences have far-reaching implications.

``Regardless of one's feelings about the emerging NC Congress - if it fails, that failure will alter dramatically the perception of the city and stakeholders of neighborhood council influence,'' Draper said.

On a separate track, a meeting is scheduled Saturday at City Hall for a second briefing of neighborhood council members on Villaraigosa's planned budget for the coming year.

Daily News staff writer Harrison Sheppard contributed to be report.

Rick Orlov, (213) 978-0390

rick.orlov(at)dailynews.com
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Jan 16, 2006
Words:666
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